Potency of unlicensed cannabis not so accurate: study

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Not everything is as advertised, apparently.

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That includes the strength of cannabis, a study by the New Brunswick Research and Productivity Council suggests.

The study compared samples of legal and illegal cannabis products and researchers found that potency claims for the unlicensed products weren’t as accurate as their legal counterparts.

In an interview with CBC News, the New Brunswick Research and Productivity Council’s chief officer of science, Diane Botelho, said the purpose of the study was to prove whether the claims made by illegal cannabis products being stronger and better were legit.

“Our scientists have been curious for a number of years now as to whether or not illicit cannabis products were equivalent to legal cannabis products with respect to health and safety as well as potency claims,” Botelho said.

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The study suggests 6 to 8% of Canadian residents get their marijuana products from illegal sellers. Researchers found the potency of illegal cannabis samples were far lower than what was claimed, while the claims for their legal counterparts were fairly accurate.

The study found that illegal cannabis flower products that boasted a 30-32% THC potency rate really had an average potency of 13-22%.

Illicit edibles were also found to have lower-than-advertised potency, while cookie and chocolate bars were nearly half as potent

On the bright side, illegal products still had an overall higher potency rate than legal products, the study found, as current regulations state that products may not have more than 10 mg. of THC, while illegal products have more than 100 milligrams of THC.

Illegal products may also be harmful, as the study found products contaminated with microbes and pesticides not found in legal products.

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